But sometimes there is a downside:
From the Watts Up With That? blog:
Arlington, WY – avg annual wind speed of 31mph, gusts above 110mph, seems like a great place for a wind turbine ….right?Well, maybe not, especially if you have to factor in replacement costs for toppled wind turbines.
Oh... and Wyoming has its own Snowzilla story to tell:
RECORD EVENT REPORTThat's a 111 year old record that toppled.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHEYENNE WY
523 PM MST TUE FEB 01 2011
...RECORD DAILY LOW HIGH SET AT CHEYENNE WYOMING...
A RECORD DAILY LOW HIGH WAS SET TODAY AT CHEYENNE WYOMING. THE OLD
RECORD WAS MINUS 5 SET IN 1899. THE NEW RECORD LOW HIGH IS MINUS 9.
As the blog points out:
Combine cold temperatures that make steel brittle along with gusty winds, and you have a Titanic recipe for disaster. For those that will argue that I’m being unfair to the promise of wind power, I welcome you to provide photos of any power plant in the USA that has been collapsed due to weather. Downed power poles sure, but power sources?
Update 2011feb02: From the blog Meteorological Musings:
"We Spent Billions on Wind Power... and All I Got Was a Rolling Blackout"
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said 7,000 megawatts of generating capacity tripped ["tripped" means failed]Tuesday night, leaving the state without enough juice. That’s enough capacity to power about 1.4 million homes. By rotating outages, ERCOT said it prevented total blackouts.“We have the double whammy of extremely high demand, given the lowest temperatures in 15 years, combined with generation that’s been compromised and is producing less than expected or needed,” said Oncor spokeswoman Catherine Cuellar. Oncor operates power lines in North Texas and facilitated the blackouts for ERCOT.The article didn't give a clue as to what generating capability failed, but I can make a pretty good guess: Wind energy.
--- above from the "Dallas Morning News"
When the wind is light, the turbine blades do not turn. And, the coldest nights usually occur with snow cover and light winds. The 9pm weather map for the region is below. The red number at upper right is the current temperature and they are well below zero deep into New Mexico and parts of Kansas and Colorado, so regional power use is high. Springfield, CO was already -15°F. Temperatures are in the single digits and teens over most Texas with very light winds in the areas where the turbines are located.